Leaving Fresno and driving straight east on Hwy 180 takes you from sea level to 6,000+ feet elevation and the largest trees in the world in just 60 minutes. I have taken dozens of visitors on this trip and made it one of the best 1/2 day trips most have ever had in their life. See the General Grant tree in the Grant grove, walk around for 60 minutes, have lunch at the restaurant (or eat at Sherwood Cafe on way back) and spend another 45 minutes at the Visitor Center.
Not quite as beautiful as visiting Yosemite but WAY easier to get there and back.
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